Friday, 5 December 2014

Guest Review: THE CREW - By Shawn Saint - PC(Ver Rev) Xbox One, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360

Don't you just hate it when that Dodge Viper just sits in the intersection.. for no reason?
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ivory Tower
Platform: PC

The Crew is a huge game, so here is a huge article that still won't cover everything.

You know, I would understand someone not jumping on The Crew bandwagon after the disasters that have been plaguing Ubisoft the past couple years. After Watch_Dogs, Assassins Creed: Unity and so many other blunders both in games and in PR it's understandable to look at the gaming giant and say "Yeah, but no, I think I'll pass."

 There is one thing that people tend to overlook and that would be the fact that The Crew is developed by Ivory Tower; a development team that has worked on such great titles as Need for Speed, Test Drive Unlimited and V-Rally. So they've already learned a thing or two about the racing genre and I feel that it really shows in this game.

Let me say that even though I do like racing games, I'm no expert on them. The last racer I spent any real time in was Need for Speed Underground 2 so I am quite aware that there have been great racing games that have come out since then, but to be honest nothing really caught my eye until I saw The Crew.

Coney Island baby!
The game boasts a massive "Micro" USA as your playground for an impressive array of vehicles. How massive is the world of The Crew?  Well in the words of someone who could actually do the math:  "Grand Theft Auto V’s Los Santos, Red Dead Redemption’s Wild West, Forza Horizon’s Colorado, Need for Speed Rival’s Redview County, Far Cry 3’s tropical island and Skyrim all fit in The Crew's map of the USA."

Each region of the map is much like what I have seen of the US in my own travels, the terrain is diverse and alive, with animals wandering, pedestrians strolling, planes flying above you and even grass and tree's blowing in the wind. There is attention to detail in the landmarks and attractions in the game, There are people riding the rides at Coney Island. There are people sunning at the beach in Miami and LA, there are even small little details like Milk cartons on the shelves of stores if you take the time to look. As incredibly huge as the world of The Crew is, there is serious attention to detail.

Don't mind me sitting here on the tarmac.. I'm, uh.. sightseeing.
In The Crew you can go from traffic clogged city streets to the open road, to barreling down a mountainside and up another one, from running from the cops to just taking it easy and enjoying the sunset over the ocean and you can actually do it all at your leisure. The Crew really is what's being called. A MMOCarPG, in that you are free to explore and play as you wish, with no boundaries to where you can explore .. Except for cliff or deep river in front of you of course. For example you start in Detroit, but nothing is stopping you for going up to Main to see if Stephen King has literally built a great wall out of books he's based there. Nothing is keeping you from heading over to Roswell New Mexico to see if the Aliens are overhead ... hey, the truth is out there ya know ....

I cannot stress enough that The Crew has a massive amount of content, not just places to go but challenges to complete, missions to do, things to find ... I understand now why it was said "Don't trust rushed reviews of this game, you need time to explore and unlock things!" .. Because it is very much true. As of the time I am writing this sentence I have logged 33 hours into the game and I have only a fraction of the humungous world explored.There are hundreds of challenges that Ive seen so far and I haven't even found them all. Sure there are a few different types of challenges, but each one is different, each has it's own terrain, it's own requirements and it's own rewards for completing them.

Wait, where are all the protestors?
So anyway, enough about the world, hows the gameplay? Well, I've heard complaints but in my experience with The Crew the gameplay is pretty much just incredible. Some of the arguments Ive heard is how hard it is to control your vehicle which is both true and untrue, it starts off being hard to control but there is a reason for that. You start out in the game with basically a new, fresh off the line car with no upgrades, so yes it's going to take you some time to build up and trick out your ride to get better results. Not only that, but take some time and play with the options menu in the game, there are 3 different sliders for steering and control so with a little testing and patience you can have your car of choice hugging the corners like you are on rails. Personally I have the best results with the drivers seat view and I love every minute of it. No worries though, there are several different views to choose from so find what you feel most comfortable with and go for it.

Oops! That intersection came outta nowhere.
This game really shines, but not only the in beauty of the world Ivory Tower has created and the cars beautiful rendered that you can make your own through hundreds of customization options, but just the simple fact that this isn't your normal racing game, this is a "balls to the wall" endurance test as well. I have already completed a couple Faction Race's that took me over an hour to get through. I had to hit 110 checkpoints in one of them and at the end I got a nice amount of reputation and I also got a nice fat stack of cash for completing it. After these are over you actually have to get up a minute and shake it off, it requires focus and effort to keep yourself that focused on your car and the road, and the ever changing environments. It's a challenge that can leave you feeling drained, and this is only the beginning.

 The Crew pushes you, and tests you , and as a reward it will give you every available option to get just a little bit more performance out of your car with countless upgrades. Just because you beat a single challenge and got a gold medal and it rewards you with a shiny new part for your car with a special bonus to speed or acceleration etc ... don't hesitate to do that same challenge again to get a part just like it for your next car, or with a different bonus attached.

The graphics for the game are really good in my opinion. Though you should keep in mind that with my aging Nvidia 580gtx Classified I'm only able to run the game "optimized" on high ... Ultra is a bit too much for my rig to handle at the moment, so there is more you can get out of the graphics than what I can, but what I can get is pretty darn good. I have played games on PC that just don't look right Unless they are on Ultra, but with The Crew it still looks great on High.

Believe it or not, even with the name Ubisoft on the game, it is blessedly mostly free from bugs and glitches in what I have played so far. There was this odd screen jumping here and there but Ivory Tower seems to have ironed that out already as I've had no problems and everything has been smooth for the past day. To be honest, with as huge as this game is and with everything that is going on, I'm downright shocked that it runs so smoothly.

Take a good look, If I have my way you are only seeing this badboy again from the rear.
Sheesh, look how long this article is and I haven't even touched PVP gameplay in this review, or how awesome it is, nor have I touched on PVE or all the Co-Op. How you can drop in and out with people you meet in the world, how there are people ready to take you on and take you down and just how satisfying it is to finish first against that opponent .... There is just SO much to The Crew that I feel that this game is an under rated gem that is a must buy for fans of the racing genre. I know it's going to keep me busy for a long time to come. Because here's the shocker, all that I have talked about, all I have mentioned ... It's all been in the 35% of the game world I have explored so far ... I just hit Level 33 and got that Dodge Viper, now more challenges, more upgrades, more America to explore .. and hopefully, more of you gamers out there who wont pass up this great game and join me so I can make you choke on my fumes and dust.

For Me, personally, this is one of the best racing games I've ever played.

~Shawn Saint

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